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J Neurobiol. 1999 Aug;40(2):137-48.

Role of N- and L-type calcium channels in depolarization-induced activation of tyrosine hydroxylase and release of norepinephrine by sympathetic cell bodies and nerve terminals.

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Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Ave., Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Multiple types of voltage-activated calcium (Ca(2+)) channels are present in all nerve cells examined so far; however, the underlying functional consequences of their presence is often unclear. We have examined the contribution of Ca(2+) influx through N- and L- type voltage-activated Ca(2+) channels in sympathetic neurons to the depolarization-induced activation of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme in norepinephrine (NE) synthesis, and the depolarization-induced release of NE. Superior cervical ganglia (SCG) were decentralized 4 days prior to their use to eliminate the possibility of indirect effects of depolarization via preganglionic nerve terminals. The presence of both omega-conotoxin GVIA (1 microM), a specific blocker of N-type channels, and nimodipine (1 microM), a specific blocker of L-type Ca(2+) channels, was necessary to inhibit completely the stimulation of TH activity by 55 mM K(+), indicating that Ca(2+) influx through both types of channels contributes to enzyme activation. In contrast, K(+) stimulation of TH activity in nerve fibers and terminals in the iris could be inhibited completely by omega-conotoxin GVIA alone and was unaffected by nimodipine as previously shown. K(+) stimulation of NE release from both ganglia and irises was also blocked completely when omega-conotoxin GVIA was included in the medium, while nimodipine had no significant effect in either tissue. These results indicate that particular cellular processes in specific areas of a neuron are differentially dependent on Ca(2+) influx through N- and L-type Ca(2+) channels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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